Analyzing the market for Panthers top-5 free agents in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers WR

  • Current salary – $1.22 million ($2.05 million cap)
  • Team priority – High

The Carolina Panthers got some exceptional production from Curtis Samuel this season. He took his time to integrate into new offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s system. But there was little doubting his importance by the time competitive action came to a conclusion.

Samuel became a reliable weapon in the passing game and also made his presence felt in running situations. This resulted in the former Ohio State sensation achieving more than 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time and has undoubtedly seen his position at the bargaining table this spring at a supremely high level.

Spotrac initially expected Samuel to command an annual salary of $6.5 million per year. However, this has skyrocketed to $12.04 million and this is something Carolina probably couldn’t afford given the salary-cap coming down due to COVID-19 losses across the league.

There should be teams queueing around the block to snap-up Samuel in free agency. A potential reunion with Urban Meyer at the Jacksonville Jaguars is a distinct possibility and if it becomes a bidding war for his services, the Panthers will be out of luck.

New general manager Scott Fitterer should be all-too-aware of this and will be forming a contingency plan in the eventuality Samuel does depart for a new team this spring.